Traveling to Egypt and flying to Cairo International Airport and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card on arrival? This is the ultimate guide with everything you need to know about buying a sim card for your trip to Egypt on arrival at Cairo International Airport.
Find out where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per January 2024, my recommendation, the best e-sim cards for Egypt, a vlog about my arrival at Cairo Airport, info about international sim cards and more.
My continuously trip around the world since 2012 never got me to country of the Pharaos, but since I started my journey to visit every country in the world I finally decided to travel to Egypt.
One of the first things I do when I get to a new country is finding the best ways to get connected. Mostly that is nowadays getting an e-sim card on the internet, but depending on the length of my stay I also still buy local prepaid sim cards sometimes.
As I also love to document all my travel tips for other travelers I already wrote more than 200 sim card guides from all around the world: Ethiopia, Nairobi, Israel, Lebanon, Istanbul, Italy, Greece, USA, Thailand, United Kingdom, New York, Brazil, Argentina, Malaysia, China, Australia, Vietnam and of course a complete guide for finding the best Egypt prepaid sim card.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me!
Why buying a sim card at Cairo Airport
First of all, buying a local prepaid sim card in Egypt is the cheapest AND best way to stay connected, but there are many more reasons I recommend you to get a local prepaid sim card for Egypt or an e-sim card if you want to make it easy for yourself.
Did you know that overseas data plans limit their internet speed? You will mostly be roaming on 3G! We are already in 2024, we want 5G! Although unfortunately there is no 5G yet in Egypt.
Also a reminder that public WiFi is an UNSECURED network, so you don’t want to rely on WiFi either. On top of that free public WiFi is no guarantee that it is actually working or that it is even fast enough to upload a video.
Last but not least, life is simply much easier with a data connection and so is traveling in Egypt with internet on your phone. Think about ordering an Uber. Yes, there is Uber in Cairo and you can order one straight away from Cairo Airport to the city center for less than $10 USD.
Or what about finding nearby restaurants or rooftop bars, looking up info about a historical site you are looking at or simply getting directions from Google Maps.
Anyway, as you might have seen in my vlog, buying a sim card at Cairo Airport takes just a couple minutes, is very simple and done fast! Or if you prefer an e-sim card for Egypt then you don't even need to buy a sim card at Cairo Airport anymore as you are already online as the plane lands.
My recommendation for Egypt
Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vodafone prepaid sim card at Cairo Airport. Vodafone has the best 4G/LTE network in Egypt and a great prepaid sim card deal for tourists.
Buying sim cards at international airports is always more expensive. If you want the cheapest prepaid sim card deals for Egypt then wait till you get to Cairo city center.
Check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Egypt in 2024, including more detailed info about the best 4G network in Egypt in 2024. But in reality you save just a couple bucks.
Traveltomtom of course also recommends e-sim cards. It is the easiest way to get connected when traveling to Cairo, you arrange everything online and as soon as the plane lands you are connected. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Egypt via either SimOptions, Airalo or Nomad.
Keep in mind that the mobile internet providers in Egypt do NOT provide e-sim cards, only physical prepaid sim cards for Egypt.
Another great alternative is an international sim card with coverage in Egypt. These travel sim cards are convenient as they are pre-activated and will be send to your home address before your trip. Check out our list of the best international prepaid sim cards for 2024 and pick the one that suits your trip the best.
Best e-sim cards for Egypt
By far the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Cairo in 2024 is an e-sim card. You arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. No more swapping physical sim cards and visiting a sim card shop.
You order an e-sim card for Cairo on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have an Egypt e-sim card installed on your phone.
Upon arrival in Cairo it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.
Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Egypt.
On arrival in Egypt you can not get an e-sim card via one of the mobile internet operators. They only provide physical prepaid sim cards for tourists in phone stores in Egypt.
Fact is that e-sim cards for Egypt are more expensive than local prepaid sim cards. Check out all my FAQ's about using e-sim cards for traveling to Bali in my complete guide about the best e-sim cards for Egypt in 2024.
There are several e-sim card providers that offer Egypt e-sim cards. Here are the best ones.
Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue.
Have a look at the Airalo e-sim card plans for Egypt for 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $12.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $17.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $26.5 USD
Click here to directly order an Egypt e-sim card via Airalo.
The above Giza Mobile e-sim cards for Egypt are data-only and only valid in Egypt. Incoming and outgoing calls are not supported. The Giza Mobile e-sim cards from Airalo operate on the Orange 4G/LTE network, 5G is not supported.
SimOptions is another very trusted e-sim card provider. They offer international e-sim cards that are valid in up to 141 countries around the world, including Egypt.
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Egypt via SimOptions.
The Orange Holiday World eSIM is only available online, not in the Orange sim card shop at Cairo Airport.
A third e-sim provider that is recommended is Nomad. They often have great e-sim card plans for many countries in the world, but when comparing the Nomad e-sim cards for Egypt with Airalo and SimOptions we see that they are more expensive.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $34 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $65 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Egypt from Nomad.
Before ordering an e-sim card for Egypt make sure your phone is e-sim compatible and unlocked. Otherwise an e-sim card will not work on your phone.
For a more detailed guide about using e-sim cards for Egypt check out my article with a comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Egypt, including all FAQ questions about e-sim cards.
Where to buy a prepaid sim card at Cairo International Airport
The 3 main mobile internet operators in Egypt are: Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat. All of them have stores at Cairo Airport. However, be aware that they are located at the luggage belts and not in the arrival hall like usually.
This means that if you want to buy a sim card at Cairo Airport you will have to do it BEFORE you pass the last customs check.
But don’t worry you can’t miss the kiosks as while waiting at the luggage belt they are clearly visible, see my vlog.
Vodafone and Etisalat are located at luggage belt 4 and 5 and Orange is at luggage belt 1.
All the sim card shops are open 24 hours and you can use your credit card to buy a sim card for Egypt. American Express cards are NOT accepted, only Visa and Mastercard.
Sim card registration in Egypt
When buying a sim card at Cairo Airport you only need to show your passport. At the kiosk they take a copy of your passport as well as a copy of your Egypt visa including the entry stamp. Then they will register your new Egypt sim card on your name. You don’t need a fingerprint or a passport size photo like in many other African countries.
The registration process takes just a few minutes and your new Egypt sim card will be activated on the spot. Traveltomtom recommends to ALWAYS put the new sim card in your phone and see if it is working before you walk away from the shop.
Prices Egypt sim cards at Cairo Airport in 2024
there are 4 mobile internet operators in Egypt and all of them have a sim card shop at Cairo International Airport. All the sim card shops basically offer a free prepaid sim card for Egypt, meaning they do not charge an extra registration fee.
All the info below is updated for 2024 and are in Egyptian Pounds. As of January 2024: $1 USD = 31 EGP and 100 EGP = $3.23 USD.
For the WE Egypt prepaid sim cards for tourists see the above picture.
Traveltomtom does not recommend buying a WE prepaid sim card for your trip to Egypt. WE is the smallest mobile internet provider and has a much smaller 4G/LTE network in Egypt. As soon as you leave Cairo you will start having connection issues.
Check out my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Egypt in 2024 for more details and a comparison of the 4G/5G mobile data network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers in Egypt.
Vodafone offers 2 tourist sim card packages and so called flex lines that include units that equal MBs. Packages are valid for 28 days.
- 30 GB data + 200 local minutes + 30 international minutes = 505 EGP - $16.5 USD
- 301 EGP = 23,000 units (23 GB data) - $10 USD
- 373 EGP = 28,000 units (28 GB data)
- 401 EGP = 32,000 units (32 GB data)
- 444 EGP = 38,000 units (38 GB data) - $14 USD
- 523 EGP = 49,000 units (49 GB data)
- 637 EGP = 66,000 units (66 GB data)
- 780 EGP = 89,000 units (89 GB data) - $25 USD
The Flex Lines work a little complicated as there are so called ‘Super Apps’, basically social media: Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. but NOT YouTube and TikTok.
In case you use one of the Super Apps then the use of 1 MB equals 0,5 unit. That means if you would only use these social media apps you basically get double data.
Browsing the internet, using YouTube, 1 minute calling or 1 text also equals 1 unit and you are free to use the units exactly as you want to.
Orange offers 5 different prepaid sim cards for tourists that are valid for 30 days.
Don't pay too much attention to the offered Gigabytes to be honest. It is all a bit misleading if you ask me.
Orange also uses ‘Super Apps’ (social media): Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapshat, etc. see the photo above. However, in this case 1 MB equals 1 MB for these apps and all other apps 1 MB = 2 MB. So if using only Youtube then this package only contains just 8 GB instead of 16 GB.
The cheapest Orange prepaid sim card at Cairo Airport is 280 EGP = $9 USD. You get at minimum of 9.6 GB data, but it could also be 41 GB data.
Sorry Orange Egypt. That is way too complicated. And the last thing travelers want is to run out of data midway during their trip to Egypt.
Etisalat offers the following prepaid sim cards for tourists at Cairo Airport valid for 1 month:
- 24 GB data + 1,000 minutes/text = 200 EGP - $6.5 USD
- 42 GB data + 400 minutes/text = 250 EGP - $8 USD
- 55 GB data + 800 minutes/text = 300 EGP - $10 USD
Etisalat also sells prepaid sim cards valid for 3 months, see the picture above.
Best prepaid sim card for Egypt at Cairo Airport
It is a simple conclusion that Vodafone prepaid sim cards are slightly more expensive than Etisalat, Orange and We.
Etisalat gives it costumers the best value for money, but is Etisalat the best prepaid sim card in Egypt? After researching the 4G/5G network in Egypt and based on my own experiences I came to the conclusion that the Etisalat 4G network was pretty weak and the data speed disappointing.
For more info see my article about buying a prepaid sim card for Egypt in 2024. In the same article I also come the the conclusion that Vodafone is overall the best prepaid sim card for tourists visiting Egypt in 2024.
Therefore Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vodafone prepaid sim card at Cairo Airport. As of January 2024 they have a prepaid sim card deal with 30 GB data + 200 local minutes + 30 international minutes for 505 EGP, which is around $16.5 USD.
And what about e-sim cards for Egypt? Yeah they are great, as you don;t need to worry anymore about buying a sim card on arrival at Cairo Airport. As soon as you land you have a working data connection on your phone.
Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Egypt via either SimOptions, Airalo or Nomad. But the best value e-sim card for Egypt in 2024 is an Orange Holiday World eSIM for $39.90 with 10 GB data that you can order via SimOptions.
This Orange Holiday World eSIM is only available online, not in the Orange sim card shop at Cairo Airport.
To show you where to go exactly, how easy it is and how much it cost to get a prepaid sim card for Egypt I recorded the vlog above.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Egypt online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible but you would like to order a sim card for traveling to Egypt online before your trip then check out the following.
Arrive prepared in Egypt with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Egypt, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.
Via SimOptions you are able to order a pre-activated international physical sim card for Egypt:
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home, but not every phone is e-sim card compatible. Check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Egypt in 2024 with an answer to all your FAQ's.
My experience buying a sim card at Cairo Airport
It took me about an hour to figure out all the information, prices and details for this article as well as filming the above vlog at Cairo Airport. I got to the Etisalat kiosk the last and the lady was friendly and helpful. So I decided to go for Etisalat.
At that time I could NOT connect to the Free Public WiFi at Cairo Airport as it wasn’t working for me. I wanted to look up the mobile internet network coverage in Egypt for all the mobile internet providers.
As that wasn’t possible, I had to believe what they told me, but all 3 providers of course told me that their network was great. Since Etisalat was offering the best sim card deals, I decided to go with them and bought the Etisalat prepaid sim card for 185 EGP with (max) 20 GB data.
Was I satisfied? Not really! I found out later that Etisalat has the weakest network coverage in Egypt and rather often the network was weak, right in the middle of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Sorry Etisalat, but I expected better network coverage and faster internet speed.
A friend of mine who was arriving a day later I adviced to get an Orange prepaid sim card for Egypt so I could compare. As expected his network was constantly stronger than mine, especially inside buildings. Etisalat network performance inside buildings was actually pretty poor and that was in Cairo, imagine outside of the capital. Therefore I would not recommend an Etisalat prepaid sim card for Egypt.
In fact, Vodafone has the best cellphone network in Egypt so a Vodafone prepaid sim card for your Egypt trip is definitely not a bad choice. At Cairo Airport they are slightly more expensive than Orange and Etisalat, but if you want the best performance then buying a Vodafone sim card for Egypt is your best bid. Read more about it in my article about the best prepaid sim card in Egypt in 2024.
I hope all the above tips for buying an Egypt sim card at Cairo Airport were helpful. If you have any additional questions or remarks please leave me a comment below.
Interested in some cool photo spots around Cairo and Egypt then check out my wanderlust fuelling Instagram profile @traveltomtom. See what it is like to travel to every country in the world. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries.
Enjoy your trip to Egypt!
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